6-15 Forest Park extends its postseason reach 83-38 rout puts Foresters into 1A state semifinals

Boys basketball

March 08, 1998|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Guess who is going to the state final four?

Forest Park, winner of only two games during the regular season, won the Class 1A North region championship yesterday, defeating visiting Bohemia Manor of Cecil County, 83-38.

Shawn Waller scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Foresters (6-15) and Jamie Higginbotham added 15. Carlton Maple led Bohemia Manor (18-6) with 17 points.

On Friday at 5 p.m., Forest Park will play in a state Class 1A semifinal against the 1A South region champion at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House.

"It was difficult with all the losses," said Waller, wearing one of the nets around his neck after he and his teammates cut them down. "Everybody had doubts in their mind, but we just came together as a team at the end."

The Foresters became one of four Baltimore City teams to reach the state semifinals. For the first time since Baltimore teams joined the MPSSAA in 1992, the city will have a representative in all four state classifications.

Forest Park's victories during the regular season came against Northern and Edmondson, but the Foresters played competitively in losses against No. 1 Dunbar, city champ Douglass, and Lake Clifton, which beat them by 90 points last season.

In just over a week, the Foresters have surpassed their regular season win total, running past Elkton (83-40), Sparrows Point (70-42), Hereford (65-39), and the Eagles yesterday. Bo Manor had 13 more wins than Forest Park coming in.

"Even though our record didn't show it, we were competitive all year," said Forest Park's first-year coach, Gregory Warren. "We felt if we could survive the city schedule, we would be ready for the playoffs and could play with anybody."

By halftime, the Forest Park players were probably thinking about taking that trip down I-95, with a 50-13 lead after runs of 10-0 and 17-0 in the opening 16 minutes.

The Foresters' defensive quickness and overall skills simply overwhelmed Bohemia Manor as the lead ballooned to 72-15 in the second half.

Chris Hurst added 14 points for Forest Park, and Dolphus Dixon contributed 12.

"It's about leaving your heart out on the floor," said Higginbotham, a junior center. "We felt pretty confident that we could do a good job. Two-and-15 was over with now. We're looking forward to going to Cole Field House and seeing what we can do."

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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